Is Pokemon Sword And Shield Any Good?

Enough time has passed in order for us to give a fair impression of the new Pokemon games. Fans everywhere were impressed with Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee. But would Sword and Shield live up to expectations?

Strange build

Leading up to the release of these games there was a great deal of controversy. Fans of the series were not happy with many of the announcements. Perhaps the most controversial of the decisions for the new game was that the game wouldn’t contain all the Pokemon from the previous incarnation. This led to the internet going into a mini-meltdown. Fans of the series were less excited about the series then they might have been, were they right?

The start

Right from the start of the game you are plunged into very comfortable territory. You start at your house, you meet your rival, you choose your starter. This is very familiar ground for fans of the Pokemon game. What they haven’t done is re-invent the wheel in that sense. If you have played a Pokemon game nothing here is going to seem massively innovative.

Lick of paint

What has been given a bit of treatment is the visuals. Let’s Go may have been very kid-friendly, but this game is far more appropriate for regular gamers. You can see this from the off, even the visuals let you see it. The colour pallet isn’t quite as bright as it’s predecessor. Don’t get me wrong. It is still a Pokemon game. The graphics are still cartoony, but somehow it puts across that the game is for real gamers. Some of the scenery is beautiful. If you are impressed by the landscapes in games, as Switch games go, this one is a real looker.

Sound

Let’s be honest here. This is the area that really lets the game down. The music is okay, but far from iconic and you will probably wind up turning the sound off. The elephant in the room is that there are no voice-overs. It is 2019 and this is a full-priced, triple-A title. Is that really good enough? The game developers have claimed that because of the number of languages it would need to be in that it isn’t viable. This coupled with the lack of a full roster makes you question whether the Dev’s have put in enough effort. The next game needs voice-overs.

Gameplay

Let’s not pretend that this isn’t a lot of fun. Even without the new features, which we will touch on later, just having new Pokemon to find and the old fashioned game dynamics make this an addictive game. As much as it is just going back to the well in many ways, you can’t really complain. You could question if it isn’t about time they broke the mode though. We have seen this same format with every game, perhaps a more engaging story is needed in the future.

New features

There are a lot of new features in this game designed to make things convenient. Gone are HM’s to help you advance. There are areas that you can’t unlock, and in that sense, the game is pretty linear. But the star of the show is the new wild area. You will probably find yourself popping back here after every gym in order to level up and look for new monsters. Making curry is a bit weird, but not too intrusive. Breeding Pokemon is as fun as it’s ever been. The new Pokemon are cool, very cool. It’s a nice treat getting new versions of old Pokemon as well.

The verdict

This is close to being the Pokemon game that you have all been looking for but still leaves us all thinking that it has missed the mark slightly. It could have been the definitive title, instead, it is a solid platform. With a few changes and a few risks, the next Pokemon game could be…a game-changer.

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